tv American History TV CSPAN January 17, 2015 4:54pm-5:01pm EST
cable partners, c-span's city tour staff recently visited many sites showcasing the city's history. learn more about wheeling all weekend, here on american history tv. >> we are here on the second floor of west virginia independence hall. we are proud to be the showcase and repository for all our state's surviving civil war battle flags. the states were in actual civil war battles carried by our west virginia troops. we have 12 flags from our union troops, and we have one captured confederate flag. we have conserved our civil war battle, putting them in climate controlled cases, where they will remain into perpetuity in safekeeping. we try to marry them with murals on occasion. our information for each flag will tell you where the troops came from, where they fought and their numbers killed. the number killed by disease is always higher than those killed
in actual battle. the guiding flags with the swallowtail design were used by two groups in particular, the artillery and the cavalry, the horse back in the big guns. the regimental flags were carried by a regimental [indiscernible] this individual was chosen to carry this flag is an honor. the color bearer would stand at the front of the regiment so that everyone equally to the left and right could see him or you would carry that flag into the battle straight at the enemy. not only was that flag a source of pride for these troops, but it communicated on the battlefield. amid the smoke and noise and confusion of a civil war battlefield, if you get lost you get confused, you look for the flag. you rally to your regiment's flag. it is important to point out that color bearers had a high mortality rate.
many of them were killed or injured during the civil war. i have no doubt that some of our flags were carried by men who lost their lives in carrying them. this is a very important flag. this is the flag of the seventh west virginia infantry, also known as the bloody seven. they lost more troops than any other regiment from west virginia during the civil war. you can see what -- why those numbers were so high. our flags will tell you what battles the seventh was in antietam -- they were bloody lane at antietam, ginsburg, fredericksburg. these were major engagements during the conflict. the seventh west virginia suffered highly because of it. the seventh west virginia flag and also that of our first cavalry -- both of these flags happen to be at the mavericks courthouse the day the robert e. lee would surrender his army and the war would effectively be coming to an end.
both of our flags were there that day. we know that approximately 40,000 west virginia is fought in the conflict or a recent scholarship updated those numbers, particularly for those who fought for the confederacy. we now know that approximately 20,000 west virginia troops fought for the union, and approximately 20,000 thoughts for the confederacy. we were an equally divided state in the war. a few more flags and not see action during the conflict but were made shortly thereafter. this is one of those commemorative flags made shortly after the war's conclusion. it is in pristine condition. you can read our state motto. mountaineers are always free. we have one captured confederate flag from the battle of lynchburg. this is the confederate national flag. it is known as the stars and bars.
a lot of folks will come here expecting to see the crossed flag that was the confederate battle flag. this is the national flag of the confederacy. all our flags are in climate controlled cases where they will live perfectly fine for many years to come. beginning in 1890's, there was a concerted effort by the west virginia antiquarian society to find and collect the remaining west virginia civil war battle flags. during that decay they correct -- collect the most of these flags. at the time. they did not know how to preserve them -- they did not know how to preserve them. for over six decades, most of these flags set in dark storage. they did not see light at all. until we could figure out how to conserve them, how to repair them and how to put them in these climate controlled cases and so they have been conserved. they have been restored as much as possible.
we have saved what is left. what is left will be there for many generations to come. to be beside an object, be beside a flag, be in the presence of that is to be in the presence of the past. this is that tangible, real connection that people can have to the past. >> throughout the weekend american history tv is featuring wheeling, west virginia. our cities tour staff recently traveled there to learn about its rich history. learn more about wheeling and other stops on c-span's cities to her at -- tour at www.c-span.org/localcontent. you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. >> the deadline for the c-span student cam video competition is
tuesday. get your entries completed now. produce a 5 to 7 minute documentary on the three branches and you for your chance to win the grand prize of $5,000. >> "american history tv" is attended the world were one memorial and speaks with frederick dickenson about japan during world war i. they were pulled in because they were an ally and not because of a colonial relationship. this is about 58 minutes. >> we will shift our focus here to east asia. professor frederick dickinson teaches japanese history at the university of pennsylvania. he has ma